No skinny jeans, no skinny cans

Skinny means very thin or unusually slender. Although it is a highly popular word, marketers avoid it but label their “sassier” products differently because the word, skinny, reinforces the stereotypes of women and body images. Interestingly, some items go for skinnier whereas others do not.   Fashion items want to be skinnier. According to J. Crew Sells “Toothpick” Jeans, Because Skinny Jeans Just Weren’t Body-Negative…

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Traditional building with a modern twist in Korea

Toronto has many traditional buildings with a modern twist. The house previously used for Rotman Designworks studio was a good example. From the outside, it was a plain three-story house. However, it had interesting modern flavors inside: boards were installed on the white walls, desks and chairs ran on wheels, and newly installed toilette were…

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Siwa, paper design by Naoto Fukasawa

People have their own favorite designers. My favorite “product” designer is Naoto Fukasawa. He is well known for the designer of the fan-shaped CD player by Muji. I love his minimalist design so much that I flew for his Tokyo studio, Plus Minus Zero, to consider buying a humidifier for the stimulus of my experimental…

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Toy made by wine corks

Although many people simply throw wine corks out, some reuse them creatively; they make art pieces, cork wreaths, bulletin board and gardening tools with used wine corks. For me, I bought a series of “corkers” to change them into toys. Simple and fun. 🙂

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Shopping experience at fashion store

Since fashion stores offer a wide range of clothing, they are often full of dust. I find many visitors leave stores because their eyes turn red. I recently found a fashion store with low dust level. Differently from other stores, it hung the whole clothing over the ground and maintained the floor clean. It was…

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Rooftop presentation of Seoul history

I attended an interesting event at the Art center Nabi in Seoul. At this event, Robert Fouser, Associate Professor of Korean Language Education at Seoul National University, introduced the history of Seoul with a series of his own black and white photos of Seoul. His Korean-speaking presentation impressed me deeply; his photos remind me of my…

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Value of Writing Design Briefs

Our intuition is that we should create design briefs collaboratively. Our study showed that the very act of writing a brief, improves concept performance by twenty percent on average, while, already top performing designers achieve a twenty five percent performance enhancement from brief writing. Studies at Stanford Center for Design Research show that investing time…

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Apple logo-shaped fried rice

I ordered a fried rice after having BBQ at a local restaurant in Korea. Interestingly, She first shaped the fried rice like an apple and then placed a small fried cake on top to make it look like the Apple logo. (What if I am a fan of MicroSoft? :)) Strong brands such as Harley-Davidson and Nike…

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Traffic light labels help us drink less wine

People often do things while drunk that they regret when they sober up. Opening expensive wines is one of them. In order to solve this problem and, more academically speaking, to overcome the hot-cold empathy gap (proposed by George Loewenstein), I adopted traffic light system. I place red sticky notes on the definitely expensive wines…

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Hanjin Shipping, the box project

MMCA (national Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) is a representative museum located in the center of Seoul, Korea. In the museum stood an eye-popping art piece. It is “Home within Home within Home within Home within Home” and sponsored by Hanjin Shipping, the 8th biggest shipping company following Maersk, MSC, and CMA-CGM. Probably, it will take ages for a shipping…

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Studying materials for design

Materials matter. Designers use biological materials to solve trade-off problems (e.g., strong and light-weighted chair). Consumers buy transparent products. When students join the Master of Product Design and Development program in the Segal Design Institute, Northwestern University, they should take Materials Selection course in the beginning before learning about accounting, negotiation, strategy, decision making, and…

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DDP, a controversial architecture

DDP (Dongdaemun Design Park plaza), designed by Zaha Hadid, is an extremely controversial architecture in Seoul, Korea. Some argue that it is neither functional inside nor goes well with neighbors; they view it as a dead space next to a naturally dynamic communities. Others, however, argue that this building cannot be judged by the contemporary…

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Hyundai Card design library

Hyundai Card is an usual financial company. It has introduced interesting design projects for over ten years. For instance, it started its own bottled water business (it water), introduced daily kitchen products called (oyster), proposed a new taxi service called (my taxi), and collaborates with Pantech for new mobile phones. Most notably, it runs a…

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SK Broadband B-Box, a better TV experience

SK Telecom/Broadband introduced a setup box called B Box. It was co-developed by a design consulting agency, Plus-ex, and recently received a red-dot design award. It not only looks way different from other ugly, bulky setup boxes, but it also provides several interesting services with TV viewers through immensely improved User Interface (UI). For instance, viewers…

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Devices help us empathize with others

Empathy matters in design and new  product development (e.g., Dev Patnaik’s Wired to Care). In order to deeply dive into target customers’ thoughts and feelings, marketers have used some combination of observation and interview (i.e., market-oriented ethnography in Rosenthal and Capper 2006) and even pictures (e.g., Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique). Academic researchers in the marketing area…

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PhD thesis: paper vs. book

Marketing PhD candidates write papers. However, some design PhD candidates publish books. I have received book-format theses from two people who obtained their design PhDs from European universities. I also know of some other design PhD candidate in US  who are presently writing books for their PhD degrees. Why do marketers and designers require different…

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Please help us recycle easily

We want to voluntarily participate in recycling but do so only when it is easy. Recently, I met two bin boxes next to each other at a university in Seoul. Unfortunately, their colors and names made me confused: the left one had a blue cover and a green panel saying “recycled” and the right one had…

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Print ad can go out of frame

There is an OOH (Out-Of-Home) advertising at one subway in Toronto. Benylin is a medicine available at the Shoppers Drug mart. Advertisers intentionally drew its figure outside the frame to communicate that the pill is strong. Although this is less shocking than VolksWagen in the ski resort or AIA in Bangkok, going outside the frame will successfully attract attention by…

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Bridging the Chasm between Design and Marketing

Although integrating design and marketing is critical for successful new product development (NPD), there has been a limited attention to the potential problems that arise during the NPD process and their possible solutions in academic literature. In order to narrow this gap, our study conducted a series of surveys of an interdisciplinary class project between…

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Behavior Change in University Education

Historically, a professor distributed its course outline with a textbook (e.g., Principles of Marketing) and students bought it at a convenient place (e.g., book store in the campus). This pattern is now dramatically changing. First, students change their book purchasing behavior. The book store in the campus are now facing the price war with online…

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Two Different Ways to Play with Words

University of Toronto has two interesting institutes: Martin Prosperity Institute and Best Institute. The former is an academic place for the global-scale prosperity and inequality. Its research papers discuss the creative classes and cities (Richard Florida), the integrative thinking and strategies (Roger Martin), and the global crowdsourcing for problem solving (Don Tapscott). The latter is a relatively…

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Expert Products, Novice Consumers

Crate and Barrel, one of my favorite stores following Pottery Barn and Williams and Sonoma, has a section called “Everything You Never Knew You Needed.” It introduces highly specialized kitchen utensils including jar spatula, melon baller, strawberry huller, avocado slicer, dual citrus squeezer, egg timer, and herb scissors. At first, they look useless for many who…

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Mobile World Congress (MWC) sketch

Mobile World Congress (MWC) takes place February 24-27, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. Some companies put huge design flavor into their booths to successfully attract attention from visitors and press (see pictures and articles on the Arts Technica by Ron Amadeo). Here are a few more pictures sent from one attendee. They are Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, LG…

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Samples help people make a color choice for Tesla

Choosing right color is difficult for car buyers. Tesla store in Toronto helps visitors make decisions by allowing them to see and touch a few samples. In the store, two working vehicles stand in the middle and they are surrounded by a wide variety of color samples. Many visitors carefully view them.

DesignMarketingLab

DesignMarketingLab

DesignMarketingLab

DesignMarketingLab

Microsoft Store vs. Apple Store

I recently visited a MicroSoft Store in a shopping mall in Toronto. My first impression was that it looks highly similar to the Apple Store. For instance, the MS Store places a simple logo outside, displays a wide variety of working devices on the tables, and has many assistants wearing blue (!) T-shirts. However, many visitors in the MS Store spent…

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Design Thinking: David Kelley + Roger Martin

David Kelley, the president of the IDEO, visited Toronto and talked with Roger Martin, the former dean of Rotman School of Management, under the title of unleashing the creative potential within us all. He started his speech saying that his life long question is how to innovate routinely. He suggests we need three things: creative…

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Airport moving walkway: Japan vs. Canada

Although the same moving walkways are installed in the airports in Japan and Canada, the two countries place them differently probably because of the different cultural norms: Japanese walk on the left side while Canadians walk on the right side.

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Seoul changes its face

People want modern shopping experience though they often go to the place the tradition is preserved. Indeed, balancing the tasteless convenience and inconvenient taste is challenging. The old downtown in Seoul has been much changed and people will evaluate this movement soon.

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Car shaped ski lift

There is nothing much skiers can do while they are sitting on the lift. Although some chat with other skiers sitting next to them or make/receive a few phone calls, others keep quiet and desperately search for something to kill their about ten-minute boredom. I have met an interesting OOH (Out-Of-Home) advertising at Yongpyong, a Korean…

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